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Update for the Week of October 11th
Update for the Week of October 11th
Paul Barrette
Monday, October 12, 2020

Hello OCRS families,

I hope that all students and their families were able to get outside on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the amazing fall weather of this long Columbus Day weekend! After the first four weeks of school, I think that all students, families, and staff were looking forward to this long weekend to rest and relax a bit.

October 19th Flex Day

As part of the R.I.Department of Education calendar that districts were asked to adopt for this school year, a number of "Flex Days" were included to allow teachers and staff to engage in regular planning to prepare for teaching students in-person as well as virtually. While these Flex Days were originally scheduled to be monthly, a few were removed from the calendar after the governor delayed the opening of school for two weeks. Smithfield's first Flex Day is scheduled for Monday, October 19th. Here is what a Flex Day means for students:

  • In-person students will not report to school on Flex Days. All students will be home on Flex Days.
  • There will be no live instruction on a Flex Day for either in-person or virtual students.
  • All students, in-person and virtual, will have an English Language Arts and Math activity to work on during each Flex Day. In-person students will NOT be bringing home their school Chromebooks ahead of Flex Days. The activities will not require the use of a Chromebook.

More information about the upcoming Flex Day ELA and Math activities will be forthcoming from each student's teacher.

Upcoming District Flu Clinics

In partnership with The Wellness Company, the Smithfield Public Schools is offering two after school flu clinics.

  • The first is being held at Gallagher Middle School on Monday, 10/19 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • The second is being held at Smithfield High School on Wednesday, 10/28 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Both clinics require online registration and appointment scheduling at http://schoolflu.com prior to the days of the clinics. No walk-ins will be allowed at either flu clinic. Please see the linked flyers below for important information about health safeguards and precautions, as well as additional information.

2020 Smithfield Flu Clinic Flyer (PDF)

The Wellness Company COVID-19 Policies (PDF)

RIDOH Flu Information Flyer (PDF)

Online Free and Reduced Meal Application

The district's online free and reduced meal application is now available! You can access it at https://www.myschoolapps.com or by visiting the Smithfield Public Schools website at https://www.smithfield-ps.org, select Explore, Food Service & Nutrition, School Lunch Applications, 2020-2021 Online Meal Application and follow the online instructions. This will eliminate the need for a paper application and will streamline the process of applying.

As previously shared with families, the USDA is providing free breakfasts and lunches to all children under the age of 18, but only until 12/31/20 (sooner if funding is depleted). All families are encouraged to take this free benefit while it's available. For those wishing to continue with the free or reduced meal benefits after the USDA program expiration date, an application must be submitted. Please consider filling out an online application.

Reduced Cost Internet Access Options for Families

With virtual learning, reliable internet access for families is more important than ever. There are several options for reduced cost internet access for families in need. Please see the linked flyer for the "T-Mobile Project 10 Million" program and also click the link below to a list of multiple options for reduced cost internet access,
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oq1jsmfH30aBxNgF6fSPo5UixZghyWja9Jo3uuya3wg/edit

Back2School RI Explainer Videos

In partnership with the R.I. Department of Health, the R.I. Department of Education has posted a number of "explainer" videos on its Back2School RI website around a number of topics from mask wearing to COVID-19 testing. Please take a look at https://www.back2schoolri.com/explainer-videos/.

Please send in a change of clothes for your child

Because this year we cannot share any personal items, Mrs. Forte is unable to provide any changes of clothes for students who may need them during the course of the school day (due to accidents, spills, tears, etc.). In the past, families and community organizations donated clean, washed "gently used" clothes to be kept in the nurse's office. Unfortunately we are unable to accept such donations this school year. We encourage families to send in a change of clothes for your child in a plastic bag that can be stored in their locker. This will ensure that we are being safe as a school and that all children have a change of clothes ready in the event that they need it.

PTA Ideas and Input for the 2020-2021 School Year

The OCRS PTA is requesting your help in 2020/21 to submit your ideas! In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to take advantage of the extensive expertise and talents of the OCRS community to come up with new ways to provide our kids with rewarding experiences and activities. As we brainstorm ideas for these activities, we want to ensure that we are considering the needs of families whose students are learning virtually at home, as well as families whose students are attending school in-person.

Please submit YOUR ideas to the PTA using the link below to help us create safe, engaging events and experiences for our students that also allow us to raise funds to support the PTA!
https://forms.gle/s7xjfB3UfAETtPw58

School Improvement Team

We are looking for a few parents interested in serving on the Old County Road School Improvement Team (S.I.T.)! The mission of the S.I.T. is to focus the school on student performance and a process of continuous school improvement that involves and informs all members of the school community in this work.

Responsibilities of the School Improvement Team are:

  • Recommendations of changes to school procedures and handbooks that are consistent with state and local policies and standards.
  • Review of school data and identification of the educational needs of the students attending the school.
  • The formulation of an annual School Improvement Plan.
  • Review of the school building budget.

If you are interested in volunteering to serve on the OCRS S.I.T., please email Mr. Barrette.

Thank you to Mr. Gruczka and OCRS families who helped with the Outdoor Classroom!

Thank you to Mr. Gruczka and the OCRS students and families who volunteered this past Thursday and Friday to help clean up the OCRS Outdoor Classroom! Mr. Gruczka shared some pictures of the hard work from Thursday and Friday. Our new art teacher, Ms. Moretti, has already taken advantage of the newly cleaned up outdoor spaces and has taken art classes outside to do some leaf rubbings. Thank you again to Mr. Gruczka for organizing and leading this work!

Upcoming Dates and Events

Flex Day (No in-person learning for students), Monday 10/19

Election Day, NO SCHOOL, Tuesday 11/3

School Pictures, Monday 11/9

Veteran's Day, NO SCHOOL, Wednesday 11/11

 

Continued thanks to OCRS families for your Patience, Flexibility, and Empathy throughout these first few weeks of school. Those three words are going to guide us throughout this school year and we will all need to continue to make adjustments as the year progresses. As long as we approach those adjustments with the best interests of our students as our priority, I am confident that this will be a safe and successful year.

Sincerely,
Mr. Barrette


OCRS Families volunteering in the Outdoor Classroom

(Members of the same family working in the same area distanced from other families were allowed to remove their masks)